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When it comes to tacos, there are three cardinal rules: Nothing soggy, chewy or bland, please. Because there’s nothing worse than biting into a sad taco. That’s why we’re committed to helping you find the best tacos New York City has to offer. Here are some stand-out options across the five boroughs for Cinco de Mayo, Taco Tuesday or any old meal.

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1. Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos

A taco is only as good as the tortilla in which it’s served. Luckily, this no-frills Bushwick shop is one part taqueria, one part tortilla factory, which means those corn tortillas are going to be just about as fresh as can be. If you’re having a hard time deciding what to order, we’re big fans of the spicy chorizo and potato number.

271 Starr St, Brooklyn; (718) 456-3422

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2. Amaranto

This sit-down Bushwick joint has plenty more than just tacos on the menu (including the crab meat tostada, which you should definitely order), but we can’t stop thinking about the steak tacos with onions, mushrooms, watercress and chile de arbol sauce (pictured up top to the left).

887 Hart St., Brooklyn; amarantobklyn.com

3. Tacos Morelos

This Jackson Heights taqueria was so good, it expanded into a fleet of taco trucks around Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as a second location in Alphabet City, Tacos Cuautla Morelos. Our pick here is the al pastor, seriously juicy pork marinated with chiles and pineapple.

94-13 37th Avenue, Queens; tacosmorelosny.com

best tacos nyc cafe habana
Cafe Habana

4. Cafe Habana

If you’re not eating these chicken tacos with Cafe Habana’s famous street corn smothered in spices and cotija cheese, you’re doing it wrong. Order an extra portion (you won’t regret it) and don’t forget the napkins.

17 Prince St.; cafehabana.com

5. Taqueria Coatzingo

One of the best places to eat tacos in Jackson Heights is this big and always busy restaurant located right under the subway tracks. Most tacos are piled high with meat like carne asada, al pastor and carnitas but there are plenty of tasty options for more adventurous eaters including suadero and lengua.

7605 Roosevelt Ave., Queens; (718) 424-1977

best tacos nyc empellon
Empellon

6. Empellon

Chef Alex Stupak’s taco empire includes Empellon Taqueria and Empellon Taqueria, but Empellon, located in Midtown, is the must-try spot. Note: This eatery temporarily closed due to COVID-19 but keep an eye out for the re-opening. Then grab a table and chow down on octopus, steak, or pastrami tacos.

510 Madison Ave.; empellon.com

7. Taqueria Sinaloense

Named after Sinaloa, the state in northwest Mexico, you could easily walk right past this tiny taco shop in the Bronx’s Marble Hill neighborhood. In-the-know locals, however, will tell you this is one of the best places in town for tender, juicy birria tacos served with consomé.

113 W 225th St., Bronx; (917) 261-4146

best tacos nyc taqueria diana
Taqueria Diana

8. Taqueria Diana

This spot with three locations around Manhattan isn’t the fanciest (in fact, it’s more like a hole in the wall), but the tasty tacos—especially the carne—speak for themselves.

Multiple locations; taqueriadiana.com

9. Tacoway Beach

On a warm summer day, your weekend plans are pretty much laid out for you: head to the Rockaways, hit the beach, and then fill up on the completely out of this world crispy baja-style fish tacos at Tacoway Beach.

302 Beach 87th St., Queens; tacowaybeach.com

10. Ricos Tacos

There’s no shortage of excellent Mexican food in Sunset Park, but Ricos Tacos is a top contender. Pop into this hole-in-the-wall for $3 tacos (al pastor for the win) and delicious tostadas. Oh, and did we mention it’s open 24/7?

505 51st St., Brooklyn; (718) 633-4816

ATLA best tacos in NYC
Atla

11. Atla

Chef Enrique Olvera’s all-day Noho eatery has a diverse menu, offering everything from ceviche and flautas to a whole-roasted fish, but the tacos are a much-welcome addition to any meal here, especially the melt-in-your-mouth suadero tacos on blue corn tortillas topped with guac, cilantro and chopped onions.

372 Lafayette St.; atlanyc.com

12. Tortilleria Nixtamal

If the homemade corn tortillas and incredible al pastor tacos aren’t enough to get you excited, wait until you try the Mexican iced coffee that puts Starbucks to shame. The original location is in Corona, but there’s a newly opened outpost housed in the Market Line at Essex Crossing.

104-23 Roosevelt Ave., Queens; facebook.com/tortillerianixtamal

13. El Diablito Taqueria

This unassuming storefront just off the Bowery is the size of a studio apartment, but they make some of our favorite tacos (and burritos) in the East Village. The tortillas are fresh and the toppings are plentiful. We love the fried fish tacos, which come with pickled cabbage and spicy mayo, and the carnitas topped with guacamole.

60 E. 3rd St.; (646) 692-9268

Amanda H./Yelp

14. The Little Taco House

There isn’t much you can buy in the West Village for under $10, but you can have a very satisfying meal at The Little Taco House, a counter-service spot on West 4th Street. Order the carne enchilada (spicy pork meat) and carnitas tacos, which are topped with guac, cilantro, onions and salsa.

246 West 4th St.; (646) 719-1600

15. Birria-Landia

If there’s one food trend that has taken off over the past year, it’s birria tacos. It’s supremely savory, tender slow-cooked Mexican beef stew, which is piled high in tortillas and served with the broth on the side (consommé) for dipping. This Jackson Heights food truck (now with a second location in Williamsburg) is the place to go for Birria tacos. They start serving their famous tacos at 5 p.m. and stay open ‘til morning for your late night fix.

77-99 Roosevelt Ave., Queens; instagram.com/birrialandianyc

best tacos nyc cat
Los Tacos No.1

16. Los Tacos no. 1

Hey, they call it “No. 1” for a reason... Since opening its first location inside Chelsea Market, this must-try eatery has expanded to Midtown and Tribeca. The menu is small but mighty, offering just a handful of tacos and quesadillas. You can’t go wrong, but the pollo asada is outstanding.

Multiple locations; lostacos1.com

17. Casa Enrique

This upscale Long Island City restaurant boasts a Michelin star, and you’d be wise to venture beyond the tacos and into the creative entrées. But any meal of chiles rellenos and Puebla-style mole tastes even better when it begins with a duo of brisket tacos.

5-48 49th Ave., Long Island City; henrinyc.com/casa-enrique

18. Yellow Rose

There weren’t many great things that came out of the year 2020 but thank goodness for Yellow Rose. This new East Village temple to Tex-Mex cuisine boasts some outrageously good tacos filled with fixings like bean and cheese, chorizo and chicken verde. The best surprise of all though are the breakfast tacos, which are reminiscent of Austin but hard to come by in the Big Apple.

102 3rd Ave.; yellowrosenyc.com

19. Tacos El Bronco

If we had to give a single award for best tacos in Sunset Park, it’s going to Tacos El Bronco. This is a no-frills joint for Mexican-style home cooking where the tacos are cheap and piled high with meat. The cecina and lamb options are unique and delicious, but one bite of the al pastor tacos topped in green sauce will transport you straight to Mexico City.

4324 4th Ave., Brooklyn; facebook.com/TacosElBronco

20. Alta Calidad

The next time you find yourself in Park Slope craving tacos and margaritas, Alta Calidad is a no-brainer. The shrimp tempura tacos with cabbage and salsa negra are always on our table.

552 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn; altacalidadbk.com

21. Homemade Taqueria

As you exit the 7 train at Corona, Queens, you’ll quickly notice there’s no shortage of taquerias but Homemade is one to seek out. The move here: three taquitos (small tacos), which are served on double corn tortillas and topped with spit-grilled pork, cilantro and raw onions. (Psst: There’s also a second location in Long Island City that’s just as good).

40-10 Junction Blvd., Queens; homemadetaqueria.com

22. Taco Mix

Can’t swing a trip to Mexico this spring? Not a problem. Take a trip to this East Harlem taqueria for the next best thing. The mouthwatering birria tacos are the real deal, people.

234 E. 116th St. (at Second Ave.); 212-289-2963 or tacomixusa.com

23. Chilo’s

This permanent taco truck is parked in the back of a Mexican-themed dive bar in BedStuy. Need we say more? The fish tacos are the best here, and they taste even better with a frozen margarita.

323 Franklin Ave., Brooklyn; chilosbk.com

best tacos nyc oxomoco
Oxomoco

24. Oxomoco

With its light drenched interior and green plants dripping from the ceilings, a meal at this Michelin-starred Greenpoint eatery always feels like a treat. In addition to your classic barbacoa and carnitas tacos, you’ll also find some unique creations like vegetarian beet “chorizo” and grilled maitake mushroom with epazote salsa.

128 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn; oxomoconyc.com

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